The influx of cattle during the 2017 drought meant that many of the wild dog in Laikipia were wiped out by canine distemper, a virus spread from domestic dogs. Over the last few months, we have seen an increase in sightings of these endangered animals - we are delighted to welcome them back in the area!
The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), also known as the Cape Hunting dog or Painted Wolf, is one of the world’s most endangered carnivore species. Once found widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa in woodland, savannah, shrubland and grassland, they are now listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as they have sadly disappeared from over 90% of their former range. They are now only found in fragmented populations mainly in southern and eastern Africa, and are thought to number fewer than 6,600 individuals.
African wild dogs disappeared from Laikipia at the start of the 1980s due to the combined effects of persecution and disease, but were recorded back in the area during 2000. In 2003, the minimum population estimate was 150 wild dogs in 11 packs.
Although wild dogs are now a protected species, they remain at risk of extinction due to increased conflict with humans in competition for space. Their ranging behaviour in pursuit of prey means they require very large areas to support viable populations.
Increased use of land for farming and the expanding human population means that wild dogs are being forced into small, unconnected areas. As a result of their extensive territories, even large fragments may only contain very few individuals; too small to sustain a viable wild dog population as not enough genetic variation is present to provide a sustainable population, leading to localised extinctions.
The highest priority for the conservation of African wild dogs is dealing with habitat fragmentation. A crucial part of the work that is done at Loisaba, which is to help protect vital wildlife corridors for all species to safely cross.
Staying at Elewana Collection’s Loisaba Tented Camp, Loisaba Star Beds and Loisaba Lodo Springs helps ensure Loisaba Conservancy remains a catalyst for conservation, wildlife research and community development.
Loisaba’s mission is to protect and enhance critical wildlife diversity, abundance and habitat in the landscape, which sits on the western edge of one of Kenya’s most important elephant movement corridors. The profit from Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp, Elewana Loisaba StarBeds and Elewana Loisaba Lodo Springs, along with revenue from livestock, brings Loisaba Conservancy closer to achieving the ultimate aim of creating a sustainable conservancy providing protection of endangered species and their habitat, as well as over 300 jobs to the local community.
Our partners: Loisaba Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, San Diego Zoo Global, Space for Giants, Lion Landscapes, Northern Rangelands Trust